Archive | November, 2012

Food Sensitivities, Allergies, and Intolerances

9 Nov

The digestive system, commonly referred to as the GI tract or gut, is an amazing series — that measures an amazing 25 feet in length — of organs charged with the demanding duty of converting the foods we into usable nutrients. Interestingly, it is also known in the science community as “the second brain” because of its vast network and highly influential landscape of the same tissue and chemicals that heavily populate our brains. This in and of itself is a very important topic for future discussion.

If you’ve ever experienced an adverse reaction to eating a meal, such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, congestion, skin, then it’s highly likely that you suffer from some food sensitivity. Food sensitivity is an all-encompassing term that includes food allergies, intolerances, or any other adverse reaction associated to eating a food.

The purpose of this article is to discuss both the differences and similarities between food allergies and intolerances, which are often used interchangeably but incorrectly so. It’s important to highlight the differences because their root causes are unique and the severity can also vary. And, as you’ll see, the treatment for food intolerances can be liberating to both your health and your waistline.

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), a food allergy is an immune response to food that your body views as potentially harmful. Specifically, your body mistakenly identifies a food protein as an allergen and attacks it with an immune response that involves a sudden and rapid release of chemicals. This response can involve your entire body including your skin, respiratory system, GI tract, and cardiovascular system.

The signs and symptoms of a food allergy can be mild to severe and they generally come on very rapidly. It’s extremely important to note that a food allergy can be fatal. Common signs are hives, rashes, itching, swelling, and other skin-related issues. In addition, more severe symptoms include trouble breathing, wheezing, and loss consciousness. Other signs are vomiting, abdominal cramps. and diarrhea.

It is estimated that nearly 15 million Americans suffer from food-related allergies. According to the FAAN, eight foods account for 90% of all food-related allergic reactions:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Diagnosis for a food allergy can generally be determined via skin prick or blood test, and a history of symptoms. The only treatment for a food allergy is avoidance. That is, the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid the allergy-causing food.

Unlike food allergies, food intolerances generally do not involve the immune system. Rather, they describe an adverse reaction to a food substance or additive that involves digestion or metabolism. Unlike food allergies, the reactions to food intolerances are generally temporary and very rarely life-threatening.

The most common signs and symptoms of food intolerances include gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, headache, migraine, and irritability. As you can see, there is some minor overlap between intolerances and allergies, but there are important distinctions.

The symptoms coming on as a result of food intolerance are generally the result of food irritating your GI tract because your body cannot properly digest it. As a matter of fact, these intolerances often arise from the absence of a specific enzyme needed to fully digest a food. More on this in a minute, but first, here’s a list of common food intolerances:

  • Lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in dairy. Many people lack the enzyme lactase that is needed to specifically break down this nutrient.
  • Gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat to which many people are intolerant because of the lack of enzymes to break it down properly. Celiac disease is the most severe form, and it is treated more like an allergy (i.e., gluten avoidance). Less severe cases can be properly treated with the addition of enzymes.
  • Salicylates. Foods like apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, some spices, herbs, nuts, tea, wines, and coffee contain salicylates — also in aspirin —  which have been implicated in food intolerances.
  • Amines. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, chocolate, cheese, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, and wine can also cause reactions attributed to their specific amine content.
  • Food colors and additives. These artificial ingredients can cause reactions. In general, it is highly recommended that these ingredients be because of their artificial nature and unknown long-term effects.

So, you know that if you have a food allergy that you have to avoid that specific food like the plague. It’s vital to your life. But, what about food intolerances? You may be wondering just how BIG of an impact these issues can have on your fat-loss success, and how much of a difference effectively alleviating them can make.

Well, in one study conducted at Baylor Medical College, 98% of participants displayed significantly improved body composition and/or scale weight by adhering to one single dietary practice: removing foods from their diet in which they tested positive for intolerances. At the same time, a matched control group who followed a calorie-restricted diet alone actually GAINED weight.

The fortunate reality is that you don’t have to suffer through uncomfortable digestive-related issues or put up with food intolerances affecting your fat loss any longer… and, even better, you DON’T have to follow some cumbersome diet that requires you to eliminate foods to do so.

There’s actually a simple solution that allows you to literally have your cake and eat it, too!

BioTrust AbsorbMax™ is a comprehensive blend of 16 unique digestive enzymes that allow you to fully break down and absorb the nutrients contained in any and every food you eat.

Just take one single capsule at the start of each meal, and you’ll be enjoying:

1.Optimal protein breakdown and absorption from meat to dairy to all veggie sources through a potent blend of 5 powerful enzymes that ensure each protein, regardless of source, is reduced to its fully absorbable peptide and free amino acid forms.

2.Optimal carbohydrate and fiber breakdown and absorption through a total of 10 unique carb and fiber enzymes that make sure you get all the goodness and nutrients from every vegetable, potato, bean, fruit, rice, and sprouted grain you eat.

3.Optimal dietary fat breakdown and absorption through dual action enzymes that cover a broad pH range.

4. A specialized enzyme to fully break down lactose from dairy while at the same time reducing or eliminating the bloating and gas that is regularly associated with these foods.

5. GlutenGone™ – A dynamic duo of 2 unique enzymes that has been shown in very recent research to be unmatched in its ability to fully digest gluten, assisting those with gluten intolerance and avoiding the harmful effects of this damaging protein.

6.Enhanced absorption of health-promoting, age-defying, and disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants from all foods.

And if that wasn’t enough, AbsorbMax also boasts three other powerful support nutrients that not only help each enzyme do its job, but actually stimulate delivery of nutrients into the cells of the body, and even help avoid the delivery of those nutrients to belly fat stores!

First up is cayenne pepper, a well-known spice whose active compound is an extract called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been shown in research to increase intestinal blood flow by 16%, helping enhance nutrient delivery to the various cells in the body that need them.

But even more interesting is that capsaicin also has been shown in research to decrease blood flow and nutrient delivery to mesenteric adipose tissue (a.k.a. belly fat) by a substantial 12%! In other words, this distinctive ingredient makes AbsorbMax even more special by partitioning the nutrients that our unique enzymes break down away from belly fat and instead toward muscles and other body cells.

The next support ingredient is coral trace minerals. Because all enzymes rely on a variety of mineral co-factors to function properly, we went with none other than the best to enhance the AbsorbMax blend. For starters, coral minerals are all natural (unlike synthetic mineral supplements) and naturally contain the full spectrum of trace minerals so valuable to the human body. Additionally, coral minerals play a more important role in the body than any other supplement, as these important minerals can directly improve the heart and circulatory systems as well as cleanse the digestive system.

Lastly, AbsorbMax is completed with the addition of ginger, a common nutrient that has been shown in multiple research studies to further soothe the intestinal tract, which can be so easily irritated and inflamed.

If a food intolerance is causing you gastrointestinal strife, I strongly recommend looking into AbsorbMax. While an elimination diet is another option, it can be a terribly pain-staking and time-consuming process. If you are indeed concerned about a food allergy, then I strongly recommend further testing.


Health Care Reform

6 Nov

It’s an election year, and one of the hottest, most controversial political topics is always health care. Whether you support ObamaCare or would prefer to repeal and replace it, there always seems to be a massive discrepancy between the two major parties’ views on how to reform the health care system.

The fact of the matter is that health care is always going to a pressing political issue. The United States population will always need health care professionals to serve them and their needs. Rather than debate a dicey political topic, I wanted to take the “pressure” off the big wigs. I want to put the pressure on you.

The honest truth is that health care starts with you. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very comfortable leaving the fate of my health in someone else’s hands. And, I don’t necessarily mean that I want to be able to choose my own health care provider.

I’m saying that I want to take care of myself to the best of my abilities, and I want you to do the same for yourself. That’s not to say you’ll never have to visit a doctor — you will. Rather, I want to share with you some staggering statistics and information that illustrates just how much control you have over your own health. If you take care of your health, you don’t have to worry about who is determining your health care.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the US. As a matter of fact, chronic diseases account for an unbelievable 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year. Among the five most prevalent, preventable diseases are:

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Lunge Disease
  • Diabetes

Here are some mind-numbing facts about chronic disease:

  • More than 50% of deaths each year can be attributed to heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
  • In 2005, one out of every two adult Americans had at least one chronic illness.
  • It is estimated that one in every three adults is considered obese. If that doesn’t sicken you, how about this? Nearly one in every five youths between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese. These numbers are on the rise.
  • Nearly one-quarter of those people with chronic disease conditions have at least one daily activity limitation.
  • Arthritis, another chronic disease, is the most common cause of disability — nearly 19 million Americans report activity limitations as a result of arthritis.
  • Diabetes is a rampantly growing disease and is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations, and blindness among adults aged 20 – 74.

Now that I’ve got your attention, how do we prevent these diseases? How do we institute health care systems in our own lives and those of our loved ones? The CDC has narrowed it down to FOUR modifiable risk factors that are single-handedly responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.

  • Poor Nutrition. Where do we start with this one? We eat an embarrassingly low number of vegetables and fruits — less than 25% of adults eat 5 servings a day. Yet, we consume shocking amount of sugar — it’s estimated that the average America consumes 100 pounds of sugar per year. What!?! In 1822, the average American consumed the equivalent amount of sugar found in a can of soda over the course of 5 days — we eat that much in 7 hours.
  • Lack of Physical Activity. More than one-third of adults do not meet the minimum guidelines for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. And that’s the bare minimum. Move it or lose it, people.
  • Tobacco Use. Approximately one in five Americans (over 43 million) smoke. Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancers. One guess as what causes nearly every case: cigarette smoking. Beyond lung cancer, cigarette smoking also causes cancers of the larynx, mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, and stomach. Oh, that’s just for the smoker. We haven’t even gotten to how many lives have been taken by second-hand smoke.
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption. This is the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the US, behind the aforementioned factors. Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to over 54 diseases and injuries, including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast, liver diseases, and other cardiovascular, neurological, psychiatric, and gastrointestinal health problems.

Now, that’s quite a pill to swallow. Ironically, you may not have to swallow a single pill to deal with any of these preventable chronic diseases if you take care of your own health. And, now that your eyes are opened, that’s what we’ll focus on in future articles.

Fit 4 A King

5 Nov

The idea of starting a blog occurred to me as a great way to continue to share information in a more communal environment. Newsletters are a great way to reach out to someone with information, especially in a timely manner. However, newsletters are limited in their scope.

They only allow for one-way communication. That is, if you, as a subscriber, wanted to ask a question about a certain piece of information or something you didn’t understand, a newsletter limits how that inquiry transpires. In addition, that question may be of similar interest to another subscriber. So, even though e-mail does offer a two-way street, it’s a private road once that bridge is crossed.

In addition, a newsletter does not offer easy access to archives. Sure, you could save every electronic copy and peruse through them at your convenience. But, what if all the information was stored in one place? What if you could search for a specific article with key words and didn’t have to go through fifteen e-mails to find the results for which you’re looking?

A blog sounded like a great idea to me. First of all, I have no problem talking to myself — and that’s pretty much what a blog seems like to me. Honestly, though, I wanted to provide a greater sense of community, and I wanted to make sure there was a platform where there could be engaged interactions. I think you’ll find that your and others’ questions and comments will complement each other and lead to great discussion and discoveries.

Also, I like the ability to keep an archive of information for everyone’s access. This provides the opportunity to dig through old articles, as well as an easier way to share information that you think may be useful to others.

It’s really interesting an interesting process to “name” your blog. I wanted to have some fun with the naming of the blog because Tim Skwiat’s Blog just sounded way too plain. Here’s a guy with a mustache in the month of November (check out and that’s the extent of his creativity?

So, I actually thought the name “Fit 4 A King” was pretty accurate and memorable. I thought a little bit of a rationale behind the name choice might be interesting to some. I mean, it’s not exactly like describing how you came up for the name of your first-born child, but it’s probably worthy of some explanation.

Without a doubt, the predominant amount of information that I’ll be disseminating on this blog will be related to your health, fitness, and vitality. It will be information related to exercise, nutrition, and supplementation, and it will be geared toward your optimal health and well-being, your ultimate body (body composition and fitness), and your best performance (mentally, physically, and emotionally). That’s the majority of the reason why “Fit” was chosen.

In addition to its fitness roots, only the absolute best and most trustworthy information will be shared. Therefore, it’s “fit” for a king. Why a king? Well, a king reigns supreme and demands only the best. I think each and every one of you who grants me the opportunity to touch your lives deserves nothing but the very best as well. To me, you’re a king of your own castle.

Finally, I really wanted the opportunity to use the ‘4’ in the name of the blog. As many of you know, my life and professional career have been heavily influenced by an unbelievable group of extraordinary people — that I call family — from Train 4 The Game. Keeping the ‘4’ in my life is very important because each and every person that I grew with at T4TG has and always will be a vital part of me.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to help you on your journey. I hope you enjoy the blog! Please feel free to comment or contact me directly. I’m here to help and happy to do so.

Your Friend,